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By: Kathy Pollard, MS Patients with low iron levels are often advised to consume several servings of meat per day since meat contains heme iron, which is easily absorbed. This, like iron supplementation, will cause iron levels to go up quickly, but is also correlated with cancer risk and dementia. Taking iron supplements will raise iron levels, but can also cause constipation, nausea and other side effects. Additionally, doing so will not address the underlying cause of deficiency. Also understand that dietary habits affect absorption levels, for instance, vitamin C from whole plants increase absorption while polyphenols in black tea and coffee inhibit absorption. Calcium supplements as phosphates in dairy inhibit absorption as well. Iron is plentiful in legumes, grains